Sailing Checklist: Don’t forget to plan and bring this!

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Let’s say you’ve convinced half a dozen friends to join you for an incredible week-long boat holiday in one of those tropical paradise destinations we all dream of. Regardless of whether you’ve decided to go sailing in Croatia, rent a boat in Turkeycharter a yacht in Spain or visit one of the countless beautiful sailing destinations worldwide, it’s sure to be the boat trip of a lifetime. You need to think about packing more than just your clothes. There are some essentials that any first-time sailor needs to keep in mind. Get ready with our ultimate sailing checklist:

  • Shake off your sea legs
  • Plan your sailing itinerary in advance
  • Prepare to combat seasickness
  • Bring the right luggage
  • Protect yourself from the sun
  • Activities on board
  • Prepare your travel documents
  • Prepare your groceries
  • Plan ahead to get a good night’s sleep on board

Now that you’re well on your way to your first experience sailing around this island paradise; pristine beaches, gorgeous coastal towns and crystal clear waters, it’s time that you begin planning with our comprehensive sailing checklist for first-time sailors.

This trip is certainly going to be one you’ll never forget, but if it’s your first time chartering a sailboat there are some important things you need to take care of first.

Don't forget to pack the most important items from your sailing checklist

Your sailing checklist guide for your first Boat Holiday:

Shake Off Your Sea Legs

Your first time aboard a yacht – or any boat, for that matter – is going to be an interesting experience. It will take a while for you to adjust to your new environment and especially to those shaky sea legs. Your sea legs can indeed make you feel a little nauseous and dizzy. It will take your body some time to adapt to this scenario. Most importantly: Take your time to familiarize yourself with the boat. Getting to know the way it sways on the water, the swing of its sails and how to move up and down those narrow stepladders and hallways can help you adapt faster. However, adapting to your new home on the water also means resting, relaxing and taking it slow for the first day or two. There are many things you’ll need to be aware of and will learn about on your first day, such as safety procedures and the general operations of the boat. So perhaps, while you’re still adjusting, just take it easy on the rakia for the first night.

If you want to come prepared for those shaky legs, you can pack a lot of water and make sure that you bring all the equipment you need to have a peaceful sleep.

Planning Your Sailing Itinerary

When chartering a private sailboat you have the absolute freedom to design your trip however you want – from the moment you wake to the moment you lay down at night. You can cruise from island to island, sailing to whatever destination takes your fancy at that point in time. The freedom that comes with chartering a boat is an incredible bonus, but while you now have the choice to sail wherever you want, you also have to plan where you want to go. If you have no knowledge of the area you’re sailing in, the charter company can plan an itinerary for you. If you decide to sail with a captain, they will even take care of the entire itinerary. However, you’ve chosen this destination and so you’ve probably got some idea of where you want to sail to, so start doing some research about the coastline, islands, bays, coves and local harbors where you can sail to and anchor in. This can be a lot of work, but also very rewarding. But there will most likely always be some issues of the sea you’re not aware of, such as particular sailing routes and restricted zones, so sailing with a skipper is definitely the easiest way to cruise from place to place while still taking advantage of the freedom you have.

You can also get some inspiration with our 7-day sailing itineraries for a yacht charter holiday in Croatia or Greece

Sailing holiday in Europe
You’ll have the flexibility to sail wherever you want.

Prepare to Combat Seasickness During a Boat Trip

It’s the fear of many first-time sailors: “What if I get seasick?” The prospect of spending an entire vacation sick in your cabin’s bathroom is a scary one, but this shouldn’t stop you from sailing. If seasickness does happen to show up to the party uninvited, there are multiple ways you can help to cure seasickness:

  • Don’t go below – Avoid climbing down into your cabin. It may seem like a safe haven, but without the open landscape and fresh air it’s likely this enclosed rocking space will just make you feel worse.
  • Lie down – Find a quiet, comfortable spot up on deck to lie down.
  • When in doubt, look out – Set your gaze out to sea, choose a solid vantage point and lock your sight on it.
  • Medicate yourself – If you think you might get seasick, stock up on some over-the-counter medication or pay a visit to your doctor before your trip, just to be sure. And if you’ve experienced seasickness before, start medicating early. It’s possible you might not even need to continue medicating once you get used to the boat.
  • Acupressure wristbands – Their effectiveness is certainly up for debate, but hey, it never hurts to try them out.
  • Eat something – Avoid sailing on an empty stomach. You’ll be more vulnerable to getting seasick and will likely feel much worse once you’ve caught it.
  • Chew some gum: The chewing movement helps combating car sickness, so it is a good idea to try the same on board a boat.

Whatever you choose to do, do something. Otherwise your seasickness is simply going to take over and you won’t be able to enjoy your vacation.

Bring the Right Luggage on Your Boat Holiday

With limited cabin space and tiny access areas, you’ll want to bring an appropriately sized backpack or duffel bag. Wheeling an enormous suitcase along the small deck of a yacht isn’t really an option, and you’ve got to be considerate of the people you’ll be sharing this space with for the next week. It’s also a huge pain trying to haul a massive suitcase up and down a tiny stepladder.

The best way to make sure you pack perfectly is to check out our boat holiday checklist specifically made for you!

Bringing the right luggage is imperative - especially on your first sailing trip
Bringing the right luggage is imperative – especially on your first sailing trip

Follow Borrow A Boat’s Ultimate Sailing Trip Checklist

Minimizing what you bring is essential when sailing, and it’s exactly the reason you should follow our thorough checklist for a sailing trip. You know what they say: “Pack half the amount of clothes and double the amount of money.” While the latter half of this may not be possible, the former most certainly is. And you will seriously thank yourself for it. Not sure what to pack?

Download our free eBook: The Ultimate Packing Checklist

Keep in mind that you’ll probably be wearing the same outfit every day, which will essentially consist of shorts, a t-shirt, a swimsuit and flip-flops. But just as it says in our sailing packing list above, be sure to remember to include the following items on your sailing checklist:

  • Enclosed shoes – You’ll need something non-slip for walking around the boat and also a decent pair for exploring local towns, National Parks and enjoying outdoor activities.
  • A hat – One that actually fits.
  • A jumper – While days on the water will be beautifully warm, it can get quite cold during the evenings, so bring something to stay cosy in.
  • One evening-wear outfit – It’s likely that you’ll be heading into at least one coastal town during your sailing trip, so bring something nice to get dressed up in.
  • A towel – One for the beach and one for the showers (unless it’s provided by the charter).
  • Toiletries
  • Your camera – But keep in mind that salt water will get everywhere. So make sure you bring a decent case or, even better, an underwater one!
  • Chargers and adapters
  • Prescription medicine – Ensure your medicine is in its clearly marked original container to avoid any confusion when passing through customs, and always have enough on hand for a few extra days in case of travel delays or lost luggage.
  • A small flashlight – You’ll thank us when it’s 12am and you’re crawling through a dark, crowded cabin trying to find your pajamas.
  • First aid items – Although most chartered sailing vessels have a fully equipped first aid kit on board, make sure to bring a small pouch full of all the necessities, such as band-aids, antibacterial cream, aspirin, seasickness remedies and a small can of bug spray.
  • Sunscreen – Which brings us to our next point…

Protect Yourself From the Sun

The holiday sun is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced at home. Not only is the sun usually stronger in these tropical destinations, but the power of the burning rays of sunshine reflected off the water is magnified significantly. Plus, if you’ve had a few too many mojitos during the day, you’re likely not to be paying much attention to your environment. You may not feel it, with that beautiful cool breeze washing over your warm skin, but this sun is frying away those skin cells and seriously dehydrating you. To keep in mind:

  • keep up the fluids,
  • slap on the sunscreen
  • bring sunglasses
  • a tight-fitting hat.
It's important to include something on your sailing checklist protect yourself from the sun when sunbathing on a beach
Bathing in glorious holiday sunshine

What to Bring for Boat Activities – you should put this on your sailing checklist before leaving

Almost all our sailing destinations come with the option to explore stunning underwater reefs and pristine bays, beaches and coves. You’ll usually always have the opportunity to go snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, wake boarding and paddle boarding, and the list of awesome water activities goes on. Most sailing charters either have some water equipment on board, or can put you in touch with a local business that can provide you with this equipment, so don’t worry too much if you’re unable to bring your oxygen tank with you.

How to Relax on a Boat Trip

As you lay back on the deck of your boat while you sail past the glorious coastline ahead, you’ll have plenty of free time to relax, unwind and escape. While there is always something exciting to do on a sailing holiday, don’t forget to bring along small items to help you relax and keep you occupied either during an inter-island commute or in the anchorage. While you’re far away from distractions such as smartphones and televisions, you’ll be surprised at how much free time you now have and how many great books you can get through. Other items to bring along include playing cards, musical instruments and board games.

woman reading on raft in turquoise waters

What Documents and Currency Do You Need on your sailing trip?

These are probably the most important items to consider before leaving for your trip. Do you have a valid passport and/or visa? Always bring a photocopy of your passport just in case something happens to it and, if you’re not an EU citizen, make sure to check with the country’s government website to see if you need a visitors visa. Also be sure to bring along your relevant travel insurance papers.

When it comes to local currency, make sure you have access to enough cash and credit cards in the currency of choice. Also, don’t forget to bring your charter package and paperwork. Bring with you any confirmations and contact information for the people at the charter company.

What Food and Drinks Should Your Bring on the Boat?

At this point, you’re well into planning your trip and you’ve realized that, at least three times a day, you’re going to have to feed your crew. You’ll need to decide how to do that. For most of us who have chartered sailboats, the meals on board are an important part of the experience. Tasting the local cuisine while relaxing on your boat under a starry night sky is one of the best aspects of a sailing holiday. Some charter companies offer to stock your boat with food and alcohol for a fee. Some offer a variety of plans: full provisioning, where they will stock the boat with all the food and drinks you need for every meal, or ‘split’ provisioning, where they will provide breakfasts and lunches, but only two or three dinners, so you can sample the local cuisine at local restaurants along the way. Or, if you want to spend all your time bathing in the sun and exploring local towns and waterways, you can hire a chef to take care of everything for you.

Alternatively, you can plan, purchase and cook all your meals yourself. Just as it takes careful planning to make the sailing experience safe and fun, you’ll need to spend time in advance of your trip planning your meals, preparing a shopping list, researching and locating local markets, assigning galley duties to your crew and working all this into your sailing itinerary. This sounds like much more effort, but it can be a lot of fun, very rewarding and usually a lot cheaper.

Plan ahead to get a good night’s sleep on board: This is an essential on our sailing checklist

Sleeping in a new place can be quite the challenge. Don’t worry if your first night on board might be a little bumpy, the nights that will follow will be easier. As a first-timer sailing you should also keep in mind that it can get quite cold at night at sea. It is crucial to bring a warm pyjama that will keep you warm and cozy. You will get the hang of having a nice quality sleep on board eventually – if not, remember to take naps throughout the day.

A romantic dinner by the sea should be included in your sailing checklist when travelling with your partner.
A romantic dinner by the seaside

While it may seem like there are a lot of things to consider when planning your dream boat holiday, once you get going we promise things will fall quickly into place. And plus, planning is half the fun! You’ll begin to grow more and more excited as the image of cruising through clear blue water past stunning coastal islands grows closer and closer. As long as you plan well ahead with this sailing checklist, you’re good to go and set not to forget anything important.

Don’t feel overwhelmed – we can always help you with any issues you’re concerned with. If you have a question, just ask us! Email to speak to one of our awesome customer service representatives. We want to make your dream sailing holiday easy. And it can be. So click through and start planning your perfect sailing holiday now.